America is not an ethnically based nation. Most nations remain that way. This shows that even Singapore, which is ethnically Chinese, may be producing spies for China. Will a clash between the US and China see large numbers of Chinese supporting their ancestral homeland?
Jun Wei Yeo was charged with using his political consultancy in America as a front to collect information for Chinese intelligence, US officials say. Separately, the US said a Chinese researcher accused of hiding her ties to China’s military was detained.
China earlier ordered the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu.
The move to shut down the diplomatic mission in the south-western city was in response to the US closing China’s consulate in Houston.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the decision was taken because China was “stealing” intellectual property.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin responded by saying that the US move was based on “a hodgepodge of anti-Chinese lies.” (BBC7/25/2020)
PHILIPPINES ASKS CHINA FOR HELP
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he has asked China for help in getting access to a coronavirus vaccine as governments around the world make arrangements to secure supply for their citizens ahead of what is expected to be a global scramble for the much-awaited shots.
In an address Monday, Mr. Duterte, who has favored close ties with Beijing, said he had made a plea to Chinese President Xi Jinping that the Philippines be one of the first to receive the doses if China has them. He also asked Mr. Xi to grant Manila credit . . .
AUSSIE PM FIT FOR WAR
ONE of Australia’s most experienced military Generals has backed Prime Minister Scott Morrison as capable of running – and winning – a “serious war.”
Retired Australian Army General Jim Molan AO DSC said this week the Australian Prime Minister displayed the type of leadership you’d expect in war time.
Molan, who now serves in the Australian Senate, shared his observations during a Northern Forum address on Tuesday evening.
Speaking at the online event, Senator Molan said Australia’s defense capabilities were the best he’d seen during his 40 years of service.
“I would suggest to you with this government we could run a serious war,” he said. “We have a Prime Minister who shows the type of leadership you would expect in war time.
“We have a bunch of ministers and bureaucrats now who have been tested through the fires, tested through COVID – they are extraordinarily experienced from my observation and know what to do.”
Senator Molan retired from the Australian Army in 2008 after having served, among other postings, as Chief of Operations of the multi-national forces in Iraq, where he oversaw 170,000 allied troops. (Politicom, 7/28/2020)
IRAN’S MULLAHS LOOKING FORWARD TO A BIDEN VICTORY
The ruling mullahs of Iran are excited. They are convinced that a new US president, like his previous boss, former President Barack Obama, will throw them the lifeline so badly needed for their survival, their hold on power, and their ability to advance their nuclear and other imperialist plans — both in Venezuela against the United States, and in the Middle East.
Iran’s economic conditions have become so dire that even some officials are warning of possible revolt and the collapse of the Islamic Republic.
It is important to note that without Iran’s financial and military assistance, many militia and terror groups could not survive. As Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, admitted, “… Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
(Iran: the mullahs are excited, Majid Rafizadeh, Gatestone, 7/28/2020)
Israel sends reinforcements to north, bracing for imminent attack IDF deploys additional firepower, intel-gathering tools and special forces a day after alleged attempted Hezbollah assault. (Times of Israel, 28 July, 2020)
The Israel Defense Forces deployed additional reinforcements to the country’s Lebanese and Syrian borders on Tuesday, indicating it was bracing for more violence along the frontiers after an alleged attempted attack by the Hezbollah terror group the day before. Israeli officials expected an attack on Israeli troops by the Lebanese terror group within the next 48 hours, before the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha on Thursday night, according to an unattributed Channel 12 report on Tuesday. Over the past week, Hezbollah has threatened some form of retaliation for the death of one of its fighters last week in Syria in an airstrike that it attributed to Israel, but which the Jewish state has not officially acknowledged conducting. (https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-sends-reinforcements-to-north-bracing-for-imminent-attack/)
Latinos are the largest group of Californians admitted to University of California for the first time (LA Times, 16 July, 2020)
Latinos represent the highest number of prospective freshmen accepted into the University of California for fall 2020, part of the most diverse first-year class ever admitted, according to preliminary UC data. Latinos slightly eclipsed Asian Americans, making up 36% of the 79,953 California students offered admission. Asians made up 35%, white students 21% and Black students 5%.
The lost boys: the white working class is being left behind These children are the forgotten demographic (The Spectator UK, 18 July 2020, by Christopher Snowdon)
You can argue about the merits of pulling down statues, but it’s hard to make the case that mass protests serve no useful purpose. At the very least, they provoke debate and draw attention to uncomfortable topics that it might otherwise be easier to ignore. The recent protests have forced everyone to have difficult discussions about race, class, poverty and attainment. Any serious examination of the statistics shows that we’re pretty far from equal, but what the figures also show is that it’s wrong-headed and damaging to lump very different groups together. In these discussions politicians often lazily assume that all BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) people are the same, and that all white groups are equally privileged. But a proper look at the data shows not just that there are striking differences within BAME groups, but that the very worst-performing group of all are white working-class boys — the forgotten demographic.
BLAMING THE VICTIMS
An increasingly popular idea is that . . . only minorities can be victims. The notion is hardly limited to the recent riots in America. Elements of such thinking often appear in other contexts.
British women, for instance, including rape victims who draw attention to “Asian” (Pakistani and South Asian) sex grooming gangs, are being attacked by the “woke” establishment.
Earlier this month in the UK, Sarah Champion, a Labor politician and MP for Rotherham (the epicenter of sex grooming), was accused of “fanning the flames of racial hatred” and “acting like a neo-fascist murderer.” Her crime? She had dared to assert that “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.”
(“Blaming the Victims of Muslim Rapists,” Raymond Ibrahim, MEF 7/11 – Raymond Ibrahim is a Judith Friedman Rosen Fellow at the Middle East Forum)
POWERFUL SERMON OPENS HAGIA SOPHIA TO MUSLIMS
In a July 10, 2020 decree, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan converted the Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque and placed it under the authority of the country’s Ministry of Religious Affairs. On July 24, Friday prayers were held for the first time in 86 years in the Hagia Sophia Mosque’s main space. Before the prayers were performed, President Erdoğan recited verses from the Quran. Diyanet minister Ali Erbaş went to the minbar (“pulpit”) bearing a sword and gave a sermon that, among other things, praised several Turkish conquerors, including Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, who conquered Istanbul in 1453, and Sultan Alparslan, who won the 1071 Battle of Manzikert, which opened Asia Minor to Turkish settlement. (MEMRI 7/29/2020)
US to withdraw or relocate more troops in Germany than previously thought
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has outlined proposals that foresee bringing about 6,400 troops back to the US and relocating another 5,400 within Europe. That entails reducing the presence in Germany by roughly one third. (Deusche Welle 7/29/2020)
US PRESSURE ON GERMAN BUSINESS
In individual talks with German and EU companies, the Trump administration is threatening repercussions, if they do not withdraw from the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. According to reports, up to twelve representatives of three US ministries have held separate video conferences with European companies, to coerce them into withdrawing from the Nord Stream 2 project. The latest US sanctions against the gas pipeline affect 120 enterprises from 12 EU countries. Should the construction of Nord Stream 2 remain unfinished, the direct damage could reach twelve billion euros. German business associations are calling on Berlin and Brussels to take harsh retaliatory measures, otherwise US reprisals could set a “dangerous precedent” that could be repeated at any time. Business representatives draw attention to the fact that the USA had tried to torpedo German-Russian energy relations, beginning already with those between West Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1980s, but ultimately had to yield each time. (German Foreign Policy, 7/27/2020)
THINKING THRU A CIVIL WAR
If Trump wins in November, it is foreseeable that his many enemies will ratchet up their hatred for him to even more destructive extremes. A bloody civil war would become likely, escalating an already violent cultural battle to a new threshold. How this might impact our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods is unpredictable even if the tactical outcome is not. The red states, wide-open spaces where politically conservative Americans tend to live and work, have superior firepower, to put it mildly, and their geographical vastness has rendered them invulnerable to attack.
They also provide most of the food consumed by blue-zone denizens, implying red partisans could lay siege to blue, bringing the color war to a relatively quick end. Political liberals have taken to boycotting the wares of nearly everyone perceived as unfriendly to their cause. It remains to be seen whether conservatives can get sufficiently aroused to return fire, not only by boycotting every product or service associated with liberal ownership, but by disrupting the flow of essentials into the big cities where they live. (The Morning Line, 7/26/2020)
TO THE POINT
Europe bracing for second wave of Covid-19 – Europe is preparing for a second wave of Covid-19 amid continuing outbreaks. The Belgian government has warned that the country could be put into a second “complete lockdown” and Catalonia says it may also have to reintroduce lockdown measures. Germany’s public health advisory body has said it is “deeply concerned” about the rise in cases and France has called for greater vigilance. (The Week, 7/28/2020)
Study finds men are performing more domestic tasks – Men are performing more domestic duties than ever, according to new research. The study found that men are spending an extra five-and-a-half hours a week on childcare and housework compared to 40 years ago, while women do nearly three hours less of domestic work. However, women still do 80% more cooking, cleaning and caring than men. (The Week, 7/28/2020)
Israel Aircraft Industries is known as a world leader in drone technology and was recently tapped by the German Air Force to develop a special Heron drone for the Luftwaffe. The German model of the Heron TP UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) completed its first flight in Israel’s skies to test modifications designed for the German Ministry of Defense. The EU company Airbus DS Airborne Solutions, a subsidiary of the well-known passenger plane maker, is collaborating with IAI on the project. The Germans will lease a number of UAVs with maintenance services, with Luftwaffe personnel currently training in Israel with Israeli counterparts at an IAF base in central Israel. (Yakir Benzion, United with Israel, 7/27/2020)
Over-55’s main losers from Covid – Workers over the age of 50 have suffered larger cuts to their earnings than any other age group during the economic downturn triggered by coronavirus, a new report reveals. Britain’s oldest workers have seen their pay fall by an average of 23%, while millennials and middle-aged workers have been hit by salary cuts of 19% and 17% respectively, according to the Financial Conduct Authority. (The Week, 7/29/2020)
A Christian teenager was sexually assaulted by his Muslim employer in early June. The boy’s father and brother were then beaten for trying to seek justice for him. (Persecution.org, June 19, 2020, Pakistan)
The sixth century Christian church, the Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul, is about to be converted into a mosque. Turkey’s religious government is increasingly hardline Islamist. It compares the Hagia Sophia to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and is a call to “liberate” Jerusalem from the Israelis. “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. ” (Luke 21:20)
Has Erdogan Launched a New Age of Religious Wars? by Jonathan S. Tobin / JNS.org
In a statement, Erdogan said that the reimposition of Muslim worship at the Hagia Sophia is “the harbinger of the liberation of Masjid al-Aqsa [the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount].” That’s a call for throwing Israel out of Jerusalem and the spot holiest in Judaism.
That this incendiary comment came during the period when religious Jews begin the period of mourning for the destruction of the ancient Temple culminating on Tisha B’Av [evening to evening 29-30 July 2020] is probably coincidental but still chilling.
(Tisha B’Av is an annual fast day in Judaism, on which a number of disasters in Jewish history occurred, primarily the destruction of both Solomon’s Temple by the Neo-Babylonian Empire and the Second Temple by the Roman Empire in Jerusalem. Wikipedia)
What happened in Constantinople was hardly unique. Invading Muslims did the same thing everywhere that they triumphed during the period when they spread their faith by force of arms from India to Europe. And, to be fair, Christian forces repaid the favor when they reconquered Spain and the Balkans by converting mosques into churches.
So when Erdogan echoes the Palestinian rhetoric of both the so-called moderates of Fatah and the extremists of Hamas about chasing the Jews from Jerusalem, he’s not just signaling his hostility to the Jewish state. He’s also making it clear that he wishes to claim the title of the guardian of Islam from Saudi leaders that many Muslims think are now tainted by their under-the-table relations with Israel.
Unfortunately, the Hagia Sophia precedent is also helping shape the discussion about Jerusalem.
The point here is not only to bring attention to the revanchist Islamist spirit that Erdogan’s boasts represent. Nor is it to highlight the fact that even Muslim liberals like Akyol are unable to be honest about the way Judaism’s holiest site was converted into a Muslim shrine that is inviolable in the view of world opinion.
Rather, it is to point out that the only way Jewish access to holy sites in Jerusalem, as well as that of other faiths, will be preserved is by ensuring that the city is not redivided as advocates of a two-state solution with the Palestinians insist must happen. The only alternative to the status quo in Jerusalem is not a platonic utopia of two peoples living happily together in shared sovereignty, as envisaged by anti-Zionists like Peter Beinart, or by returning to the peace parameters embraced by the Obama administration that would split the city. Erdogan’s revival of the brutal conqueror’s path is the only other choice. Those who care about religious freedom and the preservation of the holy sites should draw the appropriate conclusions from events in Turkey, particularly the way it is discussed in the pages of the [New York] Times.
The Libyan House of Representatives in Tobruk this week passed a motion approving Egyptian military intervention, should this prove necessary in the fight against the rival Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. This latest move is set to sharply escalate tensions in the divided and strife-torn country.
The decision raises the still remote but no longer unthinkable possibility of a conventional clash between Egyptian and Turkish forces on the soil of Libya. What began as a proxy war now threatens to escalate into a direct conflict. For now, the fighting fronts remain static around the town of Sirte. The focus looks set to return to crisis diplomacy intended to avert a direct clash over the next period. But the escalation is very real, and reflects a dangerous combination of geo-strategic rivalries and long-standing ideological differences between Ankara and Cairo. (Jonathan Spyer, Jerusalem Post, 7/16/2020)
DIVERSITY TO AFFECT ELECTION
Is her racial diversity America’s greatest strength?
So we are told. Yet, even before America becomes a majority-minority nation, 25 years from now, recent changes in the composition of the country are going to impact both parties in 2020.
According to Brookings Institution demographer William Frey, between 2010 and 2020, while America’s population grew by 20 million, our white population fell for the first time since the 1790 census.
White Americans fell as a share of the population in all 50 states, in 358 of 364 metropolitan areas, in 3,012 of 3,141 counties. During that same decade, our Black population grew by 3 million, our Asian population by 4 million and our Hispanic population by 10 million.
What’s the significance of those numbers? In presidential elections, Hispanics and Asians vote 70% Democratic and African Americans vote 90%.
White folks, who made up 69% of the U.S. population in 2000 when George W. Bush was elected, have fallen today to 60%.
For children under 16, the white share has fallen to less than half.
Minority kids are now the majority in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi and Maryland.
Whites are also the oldest Americans, with a median age of 44. For Asian Americans, it is 37, for Black Americans, it is 35, and for Latinos, it is 30.
(Rising diversity is Joe Biden’s problem, too. Pat Buchanan, 7/21/2020)
US NEEDS TO UPDATE GERIATRIC BOMBER FORCE
This 4th of July, Americans witnessed flyovers of our airpower. It was a far cry from the airpower displays over Washington, D.C., that I viewed as a boy on national holidays in the late 1950s. Then, dozens of B-47 bombers literally cast a shadow over the viewers. On this Fourth, only three bombers were on display – a B-52 built in the Kennedy years; a B-1B built during the Reagan administration; and our “newest” bomber, the B-2, over 30 years of age.
To put the current bomber deficit situation in historical context, in 1957 the Air Force had 2,334 bombers in its inventory; in 1990 it had 411; the 2021 budget plans for 140. Yes, times have changed, but arguably the security challenges for the foreseeable future are much more complex and challenging than ever before. Historically under resourced and now with the likely prospect of flat or declining defense budgets in the future, the U.S. Air Force is confronting the potential of painful tradeoffs between modernization, readiness, and capacity. However, given the outsized mission value of bombers and the fact that the bomber force is significantly undersized, looking to it for near-term budget savings risks creating a major capacity and capability gap. Instead, the Department of Defense should increase investment in this critical mission area, fully funding bomber readiness, sustaining the current force, and ramping up acquisition plans for the new B-21 bomber. (forbes.com 7/18/2020)
REBUILDING WARSAW 80 YEARS ON
Several hundred members of the German Bundestag are planning major construction projects in Warsaw. The non-partisan group of German parliamentarians – ranging from right to left – is discussing transformation plans for the Polish capital, which had been destroyed in the 1940s, when war was raging everywhere. Warsaw could finally be embellished with historical sensitivity and German money from a “Poland Fund.” Berlin is discussing the reconstruction of Warsaw’s huge 18th century Baroque palace, the “Pałac Saski” in reminiscence of the Kingdom of Poland, when Poland was moaning under the reign of the Saxons (“Saxony Poland”) – a serious proposal from the portfolio of Germany’s Poland institutes. Therefore, Warsaw’s museums and libraries must also expect wide-ranging construction measures. They would be expanded, with means from the “Poland Fund,” to make room for cultural goods from Germany, where they have been stored in greater quantities – some already for several centuries. They had unfortunately disappeared from Poland, when “Saxony Poland” had been succeeded by quite varying regimes under German domination. Poland’s cultural heritage had been transferred to Berlin in a cloak-and-dagger operation, supposedly to safeguard it from theft and destruction. The Polish artifacts would, however, remain German property and only loaned out to Warsaw’s museums, as was so caringly suggested in the German capital. (German Foreign Policy, 7/21/2020)
COVID DEATHS INFLATED IN UK
People living in England have become increasingly concerned in recent weeks, as Public Health England’s (PHE) figures demonstrate a relentless daily toll of more than a hundred Covid-associated deaths, several days a week. This is in stark contrast to the more reassuring recovery in neighboring regions (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), where there are days with no Covid-associated deaths whatsoever. One reason for this is due to a statistical flaw in the way that PHE compiles ‘out of hospital’ deaths data, rather than any genuine difference between the regions of the UK:
‘Linking data on confirmed positive cases (identified through testing by NHS and PHE laboratories and commercial partners) to the NHS Demographic Batch Service: when a patient dies, the NHS central register of patients is notified (this is not limited to deaths in hospitals). The list of all lab-confirmed cases is checked against the NHS central register each day, to check if any of the patients have died.’
It seems that PHE regularly looks for people on the NHS database who have ever tested positive for Covid, and simply checks to see if they are still alive or not. PHE does not appear to consider how long ago the Covid test result was, nor whether the person has been successfully treated in hospital and discharged to the community. Anyone who has tested Covid-positive but subsequently died at a later date of any cause will be included on the PHE Covid death figures.
By this PHE definition, no one with Covid in England is allowed to ever recover from their illness. A patient who has tested positive, but successfully treated and discharged from hospital, will still be counted as a Covid death, even if they had a heart attack or were run over by a bus three months later.
This is why the PHE figures vary substantially from day to day. For example, 16 new deaths were announced on 6 July, but the following day, 152 were reported – today’s figure is 66.
It’s time to fix this statistical flaw that leads to an over-exaggeration of Covid-associated deaths. One reasonable approach would be to define community Covid-related deaths as those that occurred within 21 days of a Covid positive test result.
In summary, PHE’s definition of the daily death figures means that everyone who has ever had Covid at any time must die with Covid too. So, the Covid death toll in Britain up to July 2020 will eventually exceed 290,000, if the follow-up of every test-positive patient is of long enough duration.
Prof. Yoon K Loke is Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia. Carl Heneghan is Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine and Director of Studies for the Evidence-Based Health Care Programmes. This article originally appeared on the CEBM website.
In March, the non-partisan Australian Strategic Policy Institute, in a report titled “Uyghurs for Sale,” accused Beijing of forcing more than 80,000 Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities to produce products for Nike and 82 other brands.
The report’s accusations against Nike are damning. “A factory in eastern China that manufacturers shoes for U.S. company Nike is equipped with watchtowers, barbed-wire fences, and police guard boxes,” it noted . . . There, people have been kept against their will in inhumane conditions. This facility, a Nike supplier for more than three decades, produces approximately eight million pairs of shoes each year.
U.S. law provides that products made with forced labor can be seized, but those made in horrific conditions in China and elsewhere routinely are cleared through Customs and end up on the shelves of American retailers. (Gordon G. Chang, Gatestone, 7/21/2020)
GERMANY: TOWARD THE COLLAPSE OF THE SEMINARIES
In 1962, the year the Second Vatican Council opened, Germany ordained 557 priests. Almost 60 years later, in 2020, only 57 of those priests remain in the priesthood. The German Church, stuck more than ever in the synodal swamp, is struggling to find solutions. 18 July 2020, FSSPX
“This is an alarming trend,” worries Thomas Sternberg, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (Zdk), who explains that “last year, there was one ordination for 11 priests who left for retirement.” A fundamental trend which does not seem likely to be reversed given the situation of German seminaries: “the number of candidates for the Catholic priesthood has decreased from 594 in 2011, to 211 currently,” explains Msgr. Heinrich Timmerevers, Bishop of Dresden-Meissen. A figure that reveals the collapse of the number of seminarians in formation houses. In view of such a catastrophic situation, the fruits of accelerated secularization and the silent apostasy of a large number, the only solution would be a return to Tradition, to the Mass of all times, to the philosophy and theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas, which would imply moving away from the novelties which have the Second Vatican Council as their poisoned source. Alas! The German prelates are not ready for such a rebuff and prefer to deny reality by further accelerating the revolution. Having sown the wind and harvested the whirlwind, the time of reckoning has come. (FSSPX.NEWS is the communication agency of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, Paris, France).
IS LEBANON ABOUT TO COLLAPSE?
Lebanon, one of the world’s most indebted countries, is spiraling into poverty and political chaos after decades of economic mismanagement. Its government is seeking a $10 billion bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but the IMF insists that Lebanon must first reform its bloated and corrupt public sector. So far, Beirut’s power brokers have resisted. Is Lebanon about to implode?
A crisis decades in the making: While coronavirus lockdowns have exacerbated Lebanon’s economic woes, the country’s financial crisis has been deepening for decades. Lebanon’s byzantine sectarian power-sharing system has brought the government to a standstill, while years of pocket-lining by politicians has crashed the economy and sent standards of living into freefall. (Even before the pandemic, the World Bank predicted that 50 percent of Lebanese could be living below the poverty line if economic trends continued.) (Gzero Signal, 7/21/2020)
TO THE POINT
Another white guy was shot dead by police in our community. This one likely just snapped. He had gone into a convenience store early one morning and was told he had to wear a mask. He refused and started stabbing the 73-year-old man who had told him to wear one. He then fled. The police caught up with him in our neighborhood. He tried to attack a policewoman with the knife and she reacted by shooting him. Once again, it was not covered on the national television news. When it comes to the news, white lives don’t matter!
I’m a little uncomfortable with the extradition of Prince Andrew. I have no sympathy with the man and feel that he deserves what he gets. Being a member of the royal family does not give him any special protection from the law. But it bothers me that the US won’t even consider the extradition of Mrs. Anne Secoolas, the lady who killed a 19-year-old young man in England when she drove on the wrong side of the road. Until she is extradited for trial, I see no reason to send Prince Andrew to face an American court. Laws relating to extradition and diplomatic immunity need a complete overhaul. The double standard here is making America look like a big bully. It hardly helps America’s image in the world.
Joe Biden plans on big changes to the suburbs, making them at least 25% minority. That means more violence and more tension. Diversity doesn’t work. Enforced mixing will only breed resentment. And you can bet Joe Biden’s neighborhood will be exempt.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s court case continues. Were there ever two more trashy people? Why does anyone ever listen to celebrities?
What happens if Trump refuses to accept defeat? Donald Trump will be “fumigated out” of the Oval Office if he refuses to quit following his predicted defeat in November’s US presidential election, according to the top US Democrat. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the warning after the president failed to give a straight answer during a TV interview about whether he “might not accept” the results of the vote. The idea of Trump attempting to cling to power may “seem far-fetched,” Politico says. “But the president’s comments have people chattering in the halls of Congress and throughout the Beltway. (The Week, 7/21/2020)
25 MILLION IRANIANS INFECTED WITH CORONAVIRUS – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said during a televised meeting of the country’s virus-fighting task force on Saturday: “Up to now, 25 million Iranians have been infected with this virus. We have to consider the possibility that 30 to 35 million more may face infection.” (Al-Jazeera)
Iranian Spies Accidentally Leaked Videos of Themselves Hacking, by Andy Greenberg – Researchers at IBM’s X-Force security team revealed Thursday that they’ve obtained five hours of video footage from hackers working for ITG18, one of the most active state-sponsored espionage teams linked to the government of Iran. The videos appear to be training demonstrations made to show junior team members how to access compromised Gmail and Yahoo Mail accounts to download their contents, as well as exfiltrating other Google-hosted data from victims. The videos represent a rare, first-hand view of state-sponsored cyberspying. Victims included U.S. military personnel and State Department staff. “This kind of thing is a rare win for the defenders,” said former NSA staffer Emily Crose. “It’s like playing poker and having your opponents lay their entire hand out flat on the table in the middle of the last” hand. (Wired)
Lebanon’s Financial Collapse Accelerates – Most parts of Lebanon are receiving no more than two or three hours of electricity a day and the traffic signals in Beirut have stopped working. These are among the latest symptoms of an economic implosion that is accelerating at an alarming pace in Lebanon – the result of decades of economic mismanagement, corruption and overspending. Economists are now predicting a Venezuela-style collapse, with acute shortages of essential products and services, runaway inflation and rising lawlessness. The Lebanese pound has lost over 60% of its value in just the past month. Bread is in short supply because the government can’t fund imports of wheat. “Lebanon is no longer on the brink of collapse. The economy of Lebanon has collapsed,” said Fawaz Gerges, professor of international relations at the London School of Economics. (Liz Sly, Washington Post)
236 European Lawmakers Call for Total EU Ban on Hizbullah – 236 European lawmakers have urged the EU to ban Hizbullah in its entirety and “end this false distinction between [its] ‘military’ and ‘political’ arms – a distinction Hizbullah itself dismisses.” (Laura Kelly, The Hill)
Right now, the United States has the feel of South Africa about it. Before 1994, South Africa was under the domination of one ethnic group; after 1994 it came under a different ethnic group. Everything changed.
Clearly, the US has a lot of ethnic problems. Perhaps Africa offers a solution.
There are over 50 African countries, each with its own president (or king), its own flag and national anthem. They each have their own laws, but many laws are broadly the same.
For example, the Republic of Liberia specifically says that citizenship may only be given to black people. Nearby Ghana recently extended Ghanaian citizenship to 100 African-Americans, but white people are not granted citizenship. Not even those who are married to Ghanaians – they are given a one-year residence visa, which must be renewed every year. You might think from this that they have really bad racial tensions, but quite the opposite is the case. Ghana is at peace. White people are welcome on short-term visas; if they offer skills that Ghana needs.
There is no diversity.
In the West, our emphasis is different. In 1971, Canada was the first country to officially adopt multiculturalism. Other nations in the western world quickly followed. Diversity became all the rage. In spite of the fact that it obviously doesn’t work, whenever there are riots or tensions between ethnic groups, leaders respond by saying that we need more diversity, not less. It’s also impossible to achieve full equality between ethnic groups.
People clearly want to live with people of their own culture.
It’s only natural.
Discrimination is not right. As the Bible says: “God is no respecter of persons.” (Acts 10:34) But living separately in different countries is perfectly acceptable. “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” (Acts 17:26 NIV)
Enforcing diversity is only going to backfire. Separation is perfectly acceptable.
Africans have long been saying “Africa for the Africans.” So why not “Europe for the Europeans”? And America for the . . . ? (That’s a question for the Supreme Court!)
Over 200 years ago, the Back to Africa movement in the US was started by men who wanted to provide a home for freed slaves. White liberals also supported the movement. It led to the founding of Liberia with its capital Monrovia, named after US president Monroe.
One hundred years later, Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator, advocated a separation of the races, calling for “Africa for the Africans.”
“Failing to attract a following in Jamaica, Garvey went to the United States (1916) and soon established branches of the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association) in Harlem and the other principal ghettos of the North. By 1919 the rising “Black Moses” claimed a following of about 2,000,000, though the exact number of association members was never clear. From the platform of the Association’s Liberty Hall in Harlem, he spoke of a “new Negro,” proud of being black. His newspaper, Negro World, told of the exploits of heroes of the race and of the splendors of African culture. He taught that blacks would be respected only when they were economically strong, and he preached an independent black economy within the framework of white capitalism. To forward these ends, he established the Negro Factories Corporation and the Black Star Line (1919), as well as a chain of restaurants and grocery stores, laundries, a hotel, and a printing press.” (Encyclopedia Britannica).
Now, we’ve moved on another century. With the granting of citizenship in Ghana to 100 African-Americans, are the ideas of Marcus Garvey and others returning?
Separation of the races is likely to be considered “racist” in today’s western World. But can it be racist when African governments themselves are embracing the idea?
The Decline of the American World It is hard to escape the feeling that this is a uniquely humiliating moment for America. (The Atlantic (extracts), by Tom McTague)
As citizens of the world the United States created, we are accustomed to listening to those who loathe America, admire America, and fear America (sometimes all at the same time). But feeling pity for America? That one is new, even if the schadenfreude is painfully myopic. If it’s the aesthetic that matters, the U.S. today simply doesn’t look like the country that the rest of us should aspire to, envy, or replicate.
Even in previous moments of American vulnerability, Washington reigned supreme. Whatever moral or strategic challenge it faced, there was a sense that its political vibrancy matched its economic and military might, that its system and democratic culture were so deeply rooted that it could always regenerate itself. It was as if the very idea of America mattered, an engine driving it on whatever other glitches existed under the hood. Now, something appears to be changing. America seems mired, its very ability to rebound in question. A new power has emerged on the world stage to challenge American supremacy – China – with a weapon the Soviet Union never possessed: mutually assured economic destruction.
. . . To understand how this moment in U.S. history is being seen in the rest of the world, I spoke to more than a dozen senior diplomats, government officials, politicians, and academics from five major European countries, including advisers to two of its most powerful leaders, as well as to the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. From these conversations, most of which took place on the condition of anonymity to speak freely, a picture emerged in which America’s closest allies are looking on with a kind of stunned incomprehension, unsure of what will happen, what it means, and what they should do, largely bound together with angst and a shared sense, as one influential adviser told me, that America and the West are approaching something of a fin de siècle. “The moment is pregnant,” this adviser said. “We just don’t know what with.”
. . . America’s problem is that the rest of the world can see when it has fallen below its achievements.
. . . Dickens, like le Carré, captured America’s unique hold on the world and the fundamental reality that it can never live up to people’s imagination of what it is, good or bad. As it watches today, it recoils but cannot stop looking. In the United States, the world sees itself, but in an extreme form: more violent and free, rich and repressed, beautiful and ugly. Like Dickens, the world expects more of America. But as le Carré observed, it is also, largely, an aesthetic thing – we don’t like what we see when we look hard, because we see ourselves.
‘Faces of the conquerors’: Trump trip to Rushmore draws fire South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said in 2018 that he had once told her straight-faced it was his dream to have his face carved into the monument.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) 25 June 2020 — President Donald Trump’s plans to kick off Independence Day with a showy display at Mount Rushmore are drawing sharp criticism from Native Americans who view the monument as a desecration of land violently stolen from them and used to pay homage to leaders hostile to native people. Several groups led by Native American activists are planning protests for Trump’s July 3 visit, part of Trump’s “comeback” campaign for a nation reeling from sickness, unemployment and, recently, social unrest. The event is slated to include fighter jets thundering over the 79-year-old stone monument in South Dakota’s Black Hills and the first fireworks display at the site since 2009. But it comes amid a national reckoning over racism and a reconsideration of the symbolism of monuments around the globe. Many Native American activists say the Rushmore memorial is as reprehensible as the many Confederate monuments being toppled around the nation. “Mount Rushmore is a symbol of white supremacy, of structural racism that’s still alive and well in society today,” said Nick Tilsen, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe and the president of a local activist organization called NDN Collective. “It’s an injustice to actively steal indigenous people’s land then carve the white faces of the conquerors who committed genocide.” More: (https://apnews.com/50f6bdb9e2fd2349bb39b99c1250b093)
America’s top general warns that ‘divisiveness leads to defeat’ as Pentagon concerns over politicization grow America’s most senior general warned that “divisiveness leads to defeat” in a speech to Naval War College graduates on Wednesday. 24 June 2020, CNN
America’s most senior general warned that “divisiveness leads to defeat” in a speech to Naval War College graduates on Wednesday. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley counseled the audience to “eliminate anything that divides us.” While he also spoke of the traditional need to keep an eye on adversaries “during periods when we are weary from conflict or otherwise preoccupied,” and did not mention President Donald Trump by name, his comments appeared to address the broader backdrop of racial divisiveness in the country and concerns within the Pentagon about the military becoming politicized. Milley told the students, “We who wear the cloth of our nation must hold dear the principle of an apolitical military that is so deeply rooted in the very essence of our Republic.” (https://edition.cnn.co)
Going home — Donald Trump’s baffling proposal to withdraw troops from Germany It makes little sense, and may never happen (The Economist (Europe), June 27, 2020 edition)
“It’s like having a stroke, and then a second one in the ambulance,” sighs Stefan Weiler, economic-development chief for Kaiserslautern, in south-west Germany. The city was already battling high debt and the effects of covid-19. Then came Donald Trump’s announcement that America would withdraw 9,500 of its 34,500 troops stationed in Germany. Some 50,000 American soldiers, civil staff and family members live in and around Kaiserslautern. The bases employ 2,700 locals and tens of thousands indirectly, from hotel-owners to parts suppliers. “They’re our neighbors, they rent our houses, our kids play football together,” says Ralf Hechner, mayor of nearby Ramstein-Miesenbach, which adjoins a vast American air base.
This local warmth found a national echo. Over decades dozens of American military bases – concentrated in Germany’s south, the area of post-war American occupation – have cemented the bond between the NATO allies. “I used to get a visit almost every year from the [premier] of Bavaria,” says Jim Townsend, the Pentagon’s former top official for Europe. “We were important to him, and he was important to us.”
Mr. Trump and surrogates like Richard Grenell, his boorish former ambassador in Berlin, have long threatened to prune America’s military presence in Germany. This time it looks credible. At a rally in Oklahoma on June 20th Mr. Trump justified his proposal with a familiar charge-sheet: a “delinquent” Germany free-rides on American protection, spending nugatory sums on defense while backing a Russian gas pipeline. “On top of it they treat us very badly on trade,” the president huffed. A day later Robert O’Brien, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, attempted to retrofit a strategic rationale onto his boss’s decision. The cold-war practice of massive army garrisons with families was “obsolete”, he wrote in the Wall Street Journal, because “modern warfare is increasingly expeditionary.” Troops were needed in Asia to counter China, he added.
This account “would not pass muster” at any military college, says Ben Hodges, who commanded American army forces in Europe until 2017. Although the reduction would represent just 15% of its troops in Europe, Germany is a crucial cog in America’s global military machine. The Pentagon’s European and African commands, which control every soldier, tank, warplane and warship in their domains, are based in Stuttgart. The army’s European headquarters are in Wiesbaden, and Germany hosts five of its seven European garrisons, including Grafenwöhr, its largest base outside America. Ramstein is a hub for directing drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen (to some German consternation). The Landstuhl military hospital has treated 95,000 American soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. “The amount of time and lives that that has saved is just incredible,” says Rachel Ellehuus, a former Pentagon official now at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a think-tank. A vast $990m replacement, nicknamed the “UFO” by locals, is being built nearby. At least 40% of American activity in Germany supports operations elsewhere, estimates Ms. Ellehuus.
A drawdown would follow a decades-long thinning of America’s presence. Over 10m of its troops were cycled through Germany from 1950 to 2000, with 250,000 deployed for much of that time. That had dwindled to under 70,000 by the turn of the millennium, and fell by half again between 2006 and 2018. Between 2005 and 2020 America’s overall footprint in Europe shrank by over a third. That leaves little fat to trim. American capabilities in Europe are spread so thinly across various functions that cutting any one of them by 30% would, in effect, eliminate it, warns General Hodges. American generals in Germany are said to be baffled by the proposal.
Yet as Heiko Maas, Germany’s foreign minister, has warned, the Atlantic is clearly widening. Tiffs over energy, trade, security and China are now threaded through the entire transatlantic relationship. Pro-American Germans say the sabre-rattling of Mr. Trump and Mr. Grenell makes it harder for them to make their case to a sceptical public. A recent Pew poll found that Germans now value their relations with China as strongly as those with the United States. Still, at least in Kaiserslautern, Americaphilia reigns supreme. “We don’t want the troops to leave,” says Mr. Weiler. “It’s an honor to have them here.”
Map of U.S. Military installations in Germany in 2020 Army & Air Force
GERMANY ASSUMES EU LEADERSHIP
Goal: economic and political independence from China and the USA. 1 July 2020, German Foreign Policy
With its EU-Council Presidency, which begins today, the German government seeks “to set in motion unprecedented changes” in the European Union, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced. Not only should the EU countries’ economies – which are experiencing an unprecedented slump, due to the Covid-19 pandemic – be reinvigorated, it is also crucial “to consolidate the union permanently,” Maas declared. Berlin is thus reacting to the fact that single-handed national initiatives to combat the pandemic – particularly those of Germany – have severely damaged the EU’s reputation within the populations. According to a recent survey, 50 percent of respondents in Spain declared that their view of the EU had deteriorated, in Italy, it was even 58 percent. The German government is also pushing to strengthen the EU’s “sovereignty” and to reduce its dependency not only on China, but also on the USA: In the global great power rivalry, Europe must position itself as a “united entity,” Maas demands. (German Foreign Policy, 7/1/2020)
America’s Mood Turns Grim: Just 17% say they are ‘proud’ when thinking about state of the U.S. (PEW Research, 30 June 2020)
With less than five months until the 2020 elections, Americans are deeply unhappy with the state of the nation.As the United States simultaneously struggles with a pandemic, an economic recession and protests about police violence and racial justice, the share of the public saying they are satisfied with the way things are going in the country has plummeted from 31% in April, during the early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak, to just 12% today. Anger and fear are widespread. Majorities of Democrats and Republicans say they feel both sentiments when thinking about the country, though these feelings are more prevalent among Democrats. And just 17% of Americans – including 25% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and 10% of Democrats and Democratic leaners – say they feel proud when thinking about the state of the country. However, nearly half of adults (46%) say they feel hopeful about the state of the country, although a 53% majority says they are not hopeful. In the presidential contest, Donald Trump faces a 10-percentage-point deficit in his race against Joe Biden: 54% of registered voters say if the election were held today, they would support Biden or lean toward voting for him, while 44% support Trump or lean toward supporting him.
. . . While white Americans’ opinion on this question is little changed overall, the views of white Democrats and white Republicans have moved in opposite directions. The share of white Democrats who say life will be better for future generations doubled from 12% in September to 24%. The share of white Republicans saying life will be better has decreased from 30% to 21%.
HONG KONGERS OFFERED UK CITIZENSHIP
Britainoutlined a path to citizenship for almost 3m eligible Hong Kongresidents and their families in response to China’s imposition of a national-security law. Britain’s foreign secretary described the new regime as a “clear and serious violation” of the agreement under which Britain handed the territory back in 1997—although he admitted Britain could do little if China blocks any emigrants, as it has since promised to do. Meanwhile, America’s House of Representatives passed sanctions that penalise banks doing business with Chinese officials. (The Economist, 7/1/2020)
IRANIAN LEADER SAYS US WILL COLLAPSE
Iranian Ayatollah Lotfollah Dezhkam, Supreme Leader Khamene’s Representative in the Fars province, said in a Friday, June 19, 2020 sermon that aired on Fars TV (Iran): “America cannot be the main decision-maker when it comes to strategic matters in the world . . . The sound of America being shattered, and of its collapse, is being heard all over the world. The shout of the Iranian nation [is] being heard from the mouths of the Americans themselves: Death to America!” The audience responded by chanting: “Death to America!” (MEMRI 6/25/2020)
PANDEMIC TO AFFECT ELECTION DAY
The fear mongering of democrats.com laid bare: “In the midst of a deadly pandemic, no one should be forced to risk their life to exercise their Constitutional right to vote.”
The question should be how does votedem.org know that “the deadly pandemic” will still be among us on Nov. 3, 2020?
Could it be that devious Democrats intend to steal the election through pandemic fear mongering as a means to get the MAIL-IN VOTE, spearheaded by Michelle Obama’s ”non-partisan” ‘When We All Vote’ is the law of the land? (Canada Free Press, 6/28/2020)
EUROPEAN ATTITUDES TO US DETERIORATING
A survey of opinion across nine EU countries has found Europeans’ perception of the US deteriorating because of the pandemic. More than 60% of respondents in Germany, France, Spain, Denmark and Portugal said they had lost trust in American leadership. According to the authors of a report accompanying the survey:
Many have been appalled by the [US’s] chaotic response to Covid-19; the lack of solidarity it showed with Europeans in the 12 March closure of its border to members of the Schengen area; and its lack of leadership in tackling the coronavirus crisis at the global level – or even engagement with the issue (beyond a war of words with the World Health Organization). (The Guardian 6/29/2020)
The EU has since banned American visitors from Europe because of Covid-19.
PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS CONTINUES IN NIGERIA, GREECE
“The atrocities against Christians have gone unchecked and risen to alarming apogee with the country’s security forces and concerned political actors looking the other way or colluding with the Jihadists.” — The Nigerian Voice, May 14, 2020
Earlier this year, Christian Solidarity International issued a “Genocide Warning for Christians in Nigeria.”
“This [using a church as a personal toilet] is only the latest incident … [I]t has become extremely common for Greek Orthodox Churches to be vandalised and attacked by illegal immigrants on Lesvos . . . As a deeply religious society, these attacks on churches are shocking to the Greek people and calls to question whether these illegal immigrants seeking a new life in Europe are willing to integrate and conform to the norms and values of their new countries.” — Greek City Times, May 16, 2020.(Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone, 6/28/2020)
GROWING INTOLERANCE AS RELIGIOUS STATUES UNDER THREAT “Historical churches are being defaced as some call for statues of Jesus to be torn down.
“’Yes, I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down. They are a form of white supremacy,” wrote political activist Shaun King, who is an open supporter of Black Lives Matter.
“In the Bible, when the family of Jesus wanted to hide, and blend in, guess where they went? EGYPT! Not Denmark,” King continued in a June 22 Twitter post. “Tear them down.”
“In Washington, vandals defaced the historical St. John’s Episcopal Church located just one block away from the White House.” (The Epoch Times, 6/2/2020).
BIDEN TAKES RADICAL STANCE ON ABORTION
Planned Parenthood recently endorsed Joe Biden for president, saying this election was a matter of life and death. Ironic words from a group that makes millions off the deaths of America’s children. But it appears their endorsement of the Democrat was well-founded. Since becoming the party’s de facto nominee, Joe Biden has lurched further to the left— a move unusual in a general election.
Biden is increasingly alienating moderate voters even in his own party. Now, he promises a radical approach to abortion—if he enters the White House.
In a statement praising the Supreme Court for striking down a Louisiana law requiring doctors who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced his support for abortion “under any circumstance,” staking out an extreme position on the issue. (National Insiders, 7/1/2020)
BLM Protest in Colonial Williamsburg
On Tuesday morning, June 30, we were visiting Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Va. We were inside the Governor’s Palace when we spotted 6 police cruisers and heavy police presence, including the park’s security. I found it odd since the park has only been opened for a week and there were few visitors with only about ten percent of the buildings open for historical tours.
The atmosphere was hardly cheerful as everyone was wearing masks and visitors were required to wear masks inside and in outdoor exhibits such as the armory, the gardens, the weaver’s outdoor shop, the blacksmith, and the barrel maker. The temperatures in the 90s yesterday made wearing the masks quite unbearable. (Canada Free Press, 7/1/2020)
Boris Johnson promises ‘new deal’ for Britain Boris Johnson will promise to “build back better” as he announces that he wants to use the coronavirus crisis “to tackle this country’s great unresolved challenges,” with a “new deal” bringing forward £5bn of spending on infrastructure projects. However, critics have scoffed at the plan, saying Johnson cannot be compared to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who created the approach of a “new deal.” (The Week, 6/30/2020) . “FDR’s Folly” by Jim Powell shows that FDR prolonged the Great Depression. Also: “The Forgotten Man” by Amity Schlaes.
2. China passes contentious national security law for Hong Kong China has passed a controversial national security law for Hong Kong. The new legislation was passed unanimously by the Chinese parliament’s top decision-making body. Critics fear the move will crush political freedoms and pave the way for Beijing to cement its control over the semi-autonomous territory, says The Guardian. (The Week, 6/30/2020)
3. Trump ‘bullied May’ and called Merkel ‘stupid’ President Donald Trump’s private calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin resemble conversations between “two guys in a steam bath,” according to an insider account. “Some of the things he said to Angela Merkel are just unbelievable: he called her ‘stupid,’” added the source, while Trump’s conversations with former prime minister Theresa May were described as “humiliating and bullying.” (The Week, 6/30/2020)
4. Revised data from Britain’s Office for National Statistics showed the greatest quarterly fall in the country’sGDP since 1979. Output dropped by 2.2% in the first quarter compared to the previous three months, revised down from a previous estimate of a 2% fall. The revision was driven by a decline in household consumption, which dropped 2.9% in the first quarter. (The Economist, 6/30/2020)
5. Police in Hong Kong fired water-cannon and pepper spray at pro-democracy protesters and made 30 arrests, the first under a new national-security law (see main stories). Britain, the EU and NATO expressed dismay after China’s parliament passed the law. Adopted by the territory’s government last night, it gives the government in Beijing and its security agencies the right to designate and prosecute political crimes in Hong Kong. Activists may face life imprisonment. One of the first people to be arrested under the new law had unfurled a banner proclaiming “Hong Kong Independence.” (The Economist, 7/1/2020)
6. The EU’s 27 member states agreed on 14 “safe” countries from which non-essential travel will be permitted, including Australia, Canada and Japan. China will also be included, as long as travelers from the EU are allowed to go to China in return. America, Brazil and Russia, which are suffering big surges of infections, are not on the list. (The Economist, 7/1/2020)
7. US snaps up global supply of Covid-19 drug remdesivir The US has bought up virtually all the world’s stocks of remdesivir, one of the two drugs proven to work against Covid-19. “They’ve got access to most of the drug supply [of remdesivir], so there’s nothing for Europe,” said Dr Andrew Hill, senior visiting research fellow at Liverpool University. Experts now fear what the US would do if a vaccine became available.
8. Nearly 50% of black UK households live in poverty
Nearly half of black UK households are living in poverty, an independent study has revealed. Black and minority ethnic households in the UK are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as their white counterparts, leaving them disproportionately exposed to job losses and pay cuts caused by the coronavirus pandemic, says the Social Metrics Commission.
9. VATICAN RAID – Vatican police on Tuesday raided the office that manages St. Peter’s Basilica, seizing documents and electronic equipment as part of an investigation into possible corruption in procurement practices. The extraordinary raid comes a month after the Vatican published new procurement rules intended to prevent corruption and cut costs. The Holy See Press Office said Tuesday that police had acted under orders from Vatican prosecutors in response to a report by the city state’s auditor general. (WSJ, 6/30/2020)
10. The Cameroonian waging war against a French war hero’s statue by Dickens Olewe, BBC News, 1 July 2020
Cameroonian activist Andre Blaise Essama has been on a decades-long mission to purge his country of colonial-era symbols, long before the issue came to international prominence in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests. His main target has been French World War Two hero Gen Philippe Leclerc in the country’s biggest city, Douala. “I have decapitated Leclerc’s head seven times and toppled the statue at least 20 times,” Mr. Essama told the BBC. “I use my bare hands … but I make an incantation to the ancestors first,” he said. (BBC 7/1/2020) (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53148608)
There’s a growing sense of crisis all over the world.
The immediate cause is the coronavirus, which gets worse every day. Worse, by the numbers. Daily, there are more deaths, more people have it and the virus is spreading, covering a wider area.
Conspiracy theories abound. In the US, some people are saying that the virus is being spread to undermine Trump and give the Democrats victory in November. How does that explain it’s a bigger problem in Italy, in the UK, China and elsewhere, countries with no election this year, or any other year, in the case of China.
Nations are reacting to what promises to be a major game changer in the global economy. Tourism has ground to a halt, flights are empty, delivery of goods suffering major delays, employees are dying, and there’s no end in sight.
In the UK, Rishi Sunak, Britain’s new Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) delivered a very professional budget speech that was over an hour long. He’s the first Indian to be appointed to the second highest political office in the land, the first Hindu (sworn into office with a Hindu holy book) and at only 39, one of the youngest chancellors in history. His budget was the first one since Britain left the EU, the first in almost 50 years that Britain has been totally independent. The budget was scheduled weeks ago, before the virus, but it gave the government the opportunity to tackle it from the financial perspective. It’s going to cost billions of pounds (dollars or euros), increasing deficits and threatening the international exchange rate of currencies. The stimulus package promised this morning in Britain is thirty billion pounds ($39 billion).
It’s unpredictable – but it’s very real. It will affect President Trump’s chance of reelection, but it’s not a deliberate attempt to thwart his success. The medical crisis will inevitably affect the economy, which may affect the election, though its doubtful anybody else could manage the crisis better. In the UK it is estimated that, at the peak of the crisis, one fifth of all workers will have to stay home.
The virus started in Wuhan, China. We may never know exactly what caused it, but pigs, bats and pangolins seem the most likely candidates. But there is also a government laboratory in Wuhan. The suspicion is also that it might have been a biological warfare experiment gone wrong.
Putin forever — Russian president Vladimir Putin is backing sweeping constitutional changes that would allow him to stay at the helm of the country until 2036. (Financial Times) If approved, the reforms would give Putin the option to serve another two terms and cement an unbroken run of 24 years as president and 36 years in power. A “people’s vote” referendum is due next month. The New York Times notes that 36 years is longer “than Stalin but still short of Peter the Great, who reigned for 43 years.” (Financial Times Brussels Briefing, 3/10/2020)
WHY GAS IS CHEAP
For three years, Russia and Saudi Arabia, the world’s two largest oil exporters, had a deal to prop up global crude prices by limiting production. They calculated that by producing fewer barrels, rising prices would make each barrel worth more.
Over the weekend, that deal collapsed when Russia backed out, allegedly because it decided that higher prices were also providing an unexpectedly large boost for the US oil industry, which has expanded its market share by increasing production by nearly 50 percent since the Russia-Saudi (formally, Russia-OPEC) deal began in late 2016. A lot of that increase has come from US shale oil.
Saudi Arabia, eager to show Russia that its market power is not to be ignored, slashed the price at which it sells its own oil, and moved to sharply boost production. The expected flood of new Saudi supply dropped global oil prices by more than 30 percent on Monday, the biggest overnight drop in almost three decades. Stock markets, already wobbly thanks to coronavirus, took a dive.
Now Moscow and Riyadh appear locked in a price war – a crude game of chicken that could last for weeks or even months. Oil markets are reeling because this conflict comes just as the coronavirus clobbers demand for oil as factories close, and as international shipping and air travel slow dramatically. More supply + less demand = price collapse. (Signal, the Gzero Newsletter, 3/10/2020)
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries publishes its latest oil report today, amid turmoil. OPEC and its allies met on March 5th and 6th to discuss production cuts to boost the oil price. Russia refused a deal, stunning the market. Saudi Arabia then said it would ramp up production next month and lower its selling price. On March 9th the price of Brent crude fell by 24%, its biggest one-day drop since 1991. There is a chance that Russia and Saudi Arabia will compromise, but most analysts think the price war is more likely to continue, as they battle for market share and try to squeeze the shale companies that have made America the world’s biggest oil producer. Saudi Arabia’s low production costs mean it can fight fiercely, but not without suffering. The kingdom requires oil to top $80 a barrel to balance its budget. This year’s average may be less than half that. (The Economist, 3/10/2020)
FRANCE SET TO BECOME MUSLIM
Domestically, the past fifty years of steady immigration from Islamic countries into France is “transforming the fabric of French society” from within. Demographic and sociological surveys indicate that 10-15% of the French population is now of Muslim origin, including 20-30% of French citizens or residents under the age of 25. Some integrate successfully, but many align with the most radical and militant expression of the religion. Their rejection of France’s secular constitution is matched by resentment of the French military’s fight against global jihadism in Africa and the Middle East, seen as a “deliberate assault … on Islam.”
Whereas religious zeal is steadily increasing among French Muslims, Gurfinkiel said that “the classic national religion of France, Catholicism,” is declining, citing research found in The French Archipelago (L’archipel français) by French pollster, demographer and sociologist Jérôme Fourquet. Traditional family and marriage are “unraveling among the native French,” while birthrates drop. (“A very good chance of Islamists conquering France”, Marilyn Stern, MEF, 3/7. Interview with Michel Gurfinkiel, of the Paris based Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute.)
The Western Armament Community (II) German-Foreign-Policy.com * (10 March 2020)
Germany, the EU and the western powers altogether have increased their already dominant share of the booming global arms export, according to a report on international arms transfers published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) yesterday. Germany is the fourth largest arms export nation. With a 26 percent share, the EU is well ahead of Russia (21 percent) and behind the USA (36 percent). Two thirds of the world’s exports of heavy war machinery are attributed to arms manufacturers in North America and Europe (excluding Russia). SIPRI’s list of recipient states is a clear indication of current and future hot spots. Six of the top ten global arms importers are located in the Arab world, particularly at the Persian Gulf. One sixth of all arms exports are being delivered to western allies in the power struggle with China in East and Southeast Asia and in the Pacific realm – with German arms exports being an integral part.(More… https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/news/detail/8213/)
USA and France dramatically increase major arms exports; Saudi Arabia is largest arms importer, says SIPRI
(Stockholm, 9 March 2020) — International transfers of major arms during the five-year period 2015–19 increased by 5.5 per cent compared with 2010–14. According to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the largest exporters of arms during the past five years were the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China. The new data shows that the flow of arms to the Middle East has increased, with Saudi Arabia clearly being the world’s largest importer.
Significant increase in arms exports from the United States and France
Between 2010–14 and 2015–19, exports of major arms from the USA grew by 23 per cent, raising its share of total global arms exports to 36 per cent. In 2015–19 total US arms exports were 76 per cent higher than those of the second-largest arms exporter in the world, Russia. Major arms transferred from the USA went to a total of 96 countries.
‘Half of US arms exports in the past five years went to the Middle East, and half of those went to Saudi Arabia,’ says Pieter D. Wezeman, Senior Researcher at SIPRI. ‘At the same time, demand for the USA’s advanced military aircraft increased, particularly in Europe, Australia, Japan and Taiwan.’
French arms exports reached their highest level for any five-year period since 1990 and accounted for 7.9 per cent of total global arms exports in 2015–19, a 72 per cent increase on 2010–14. ‘The French arms industry has benefited from the demand for arms in Egypt, Qatar and India,’ says Diego Lopes Da Silva, SIPRI Researcher.
Other notable developments:
Germany’s arms exports were 17 per cent higher in 2015–19 than in 2010–14.
China was the fifth-largest arms exporter in 2015–19 and significantly increased the number of recipients of its major arms: from 40 in 2010–14 to 53 in 2015–19.
South Korea’s arms exports rose by 143 per cent between 2010–14 and 2015–19 and it entered the list of the top 10 largest exporters for the first time.
Israeli arms exports increased by 77 per cent between 2010–14 and 2015–19 to their highest-ever level.
West and Central European states had outstanding orders at the end of 2019 for imports of 380 new combat aircraft from the USA.
Egypt’s arms imports tripled between 2010–14 and 2015–19, making it the world’s third-largest arms importer.
Brazil’s arms imports in 2015–19 were the highest in South America, accounting for 31 per cent of the subregion’s arms imports, despite a 37 per cent decrease compared with 2010–14.
South Africa, the largest arms importer in sub-Saharan Africa in 2005–2009, imported almost no major arms in 2015–19.
Germany ‘should join in French nuclear deterrent’ The former Airbus executive Tom Enders urged Berlin to do the “unthinkable”
by Oliver Moody, Berlin, 6 March 2020, The Times (of London)
Germany has been urged to work with France on a joint nuclear deterrent amid doubts about President Trump’s readiness to stand by Europe in a military crisis. Tom Enders, the former chief executive of Airbus, called on Berlin to overcome its taboo against atomic weapons and buy a stake in the French force de frappe (strike force), consisting of some 290 warheads. President Macron recently offered EU leaders a “strategic dialogue” on the role of France’s nuclear arsenal. The German response has so far been ambivalent. The country is covered by the US “nuclear umbrella” through its membership of Nato. It is an open secret that Germany hosts about 20 American warheads at the Büchel airbase, near the Belgian border. The weapons are under the… [Paywall].
TO THE POINT
BIDEN BID – With primary wins in Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho, Joe Biden took a commanding lead over Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. The two are even neck-and-neck in Washington, expected to go to Mr. Sanders. Sights are already on Florida, the big prize next Tuesday, where Mr Biden leads in polls. The race is his to lose. (The Economist, 3/10/2020)
The Bank of Englandcut interest rates from 0.75% to 0.25% to cushion the economic blow from coronavirus. It also announced a new scheme to provide cheap funding for banks that increase loans to small and medium-sized firms, and capital buffers were cut to ease credit conditions further. The bank’s rate-cut follows cuts in America, Canada and Australia. (The Economist, 3/10/2020)
The Democratic Republic of Congo, the biggest country in sub-Saharan Africa, confirmed its first case of covid-19. Cases have also been recorded in South Africa, Nigeria and Senegal. The World Health Organization has warned that the greatest concern is that the virus spreads “to countries with weaker health systems which are ill-prepared to deal with it”. (The Economist, 3/10/2020)
I took one of my grandsons to see “The Call of the Wild” Monday night. It’s the third or fourth version of the Jack London classic I’ve seen. This one was the best. It was good, family entertainment. Try to see it before it leaves the big screen.
My wife and I have been watching “Beecham House”, a PBS series set in British India in 1795. Although it has the usual anti-colonial stance, we found it very enjoyable.
I will write again a week from now – unless I succumb to the virus!
Is Joe Biden the new Democratic frontrunner? It certainly seems that way, after the former vice president took a delegate lead over Bernie Sanders with a triumphant sweep of the southern Super Tuesday states, capped by a win in Texas. Yet Sanders kept some of his momentum with victory in California, setting up what will likely be a long, drawn-out battle between the two wings of the party and their septuagenarian standard-bearers.
Elizabeth Warren – the Massachusetts Senator lost even her home state on Tuesday night, but remains in the race as of Wednesday morning – perhaps with a contested convention in mind.
Michael Bloomberg – the billionaire former New York mayor had planned to make a splash as he at last entered the race on Tuesday, on the back of a $500m ad spend. Instead he claimed just one small victory, in American Samoa. (The Guardian, 3/4/2020)
Michael Bloomberg withdrew from the race later in the day.
TIME TO MOVE ON FROM OBAMA
He won them two presidential elections, but Democrats are increasingly ready to put President Barack Obama in their rear view, according to exit polls from the Super Tuesday slate of primaries, which showed a startling number of party faithful saying it’s time to move on.
Mr. Obama remains popular in the Deep South, where black voters play an outsized role in Democratic politics, but from Maine to Minnesota, voters said they are no longer thrilled with the man who brought them the first universal health care plan and flexed his executive pen to grant a deportation amnesty to “Dreamers,” to ink a deal with Iran and to commit the U.S. to curbing greenhouse gases.
Instead, the party’s heart now belongs to Sen. Bernard Sanders, the democratic socialist who won’t even call himself a Democrat but who has completely rewritten the party’s agenda. (Washington Times, 3/4/2020)
CORONAVIRUS – LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE
Fragile supply chains: Decades of fine-tuning global manufacturing have given billions of people access to quality consumer goods at affordable prices. That’s the upside of globalization. But the same trend has concentrated production of important items in certain countries, creating new vulnerabilities. For example, regions of China and broader Asia that produce most of the world’s smartphones have been forced to idle or cut manufacturing because of the outbreak. The decline in Chinese factory activity has been so pronounced, it’s actually visible from space. And US officials recently warned of drug shortages due to the shuttering of factories in China that make essential ingredients for some important medicines.
Fragile safety nets: Well before the new virus emerged in China, an annual report by the World Health Organization warned that the chances of a global outbreak were rising and that the world was “not prepared for a fast-moving, virulent respiratory pathogen pandemic.” It cited the usual problems – a lack of funding for public health monitoring and prevention, bureaucratic hurdles, and weak medical infrastructure, especially in poor and middle-income countries. But it also warned of “a breakdown in public trust…exacerbated by misinformation that can hinder disease control communicated quickly and widely via social media.” In the US, the safety net is further weakened by a lack of mandatory paid sick leave, which some people fear will compel sick people to show up at work, where they can infect colleagues and customers. (Gzero World, 3/4/2020)
RYANAIR BOSS CONDEMNS ‘HYSTERIA’ OVER CORONAVIRUS
The boss of Ryanair has condemned what he called “lunacy on social media” and “hysteria” in coverage of the coronavirus.
Speaking to Sky News, Michael O’Leary appealed for a calm and measured approach to the coronavirus outbreak and said “Let’s not have irrational panic measures.” (The Week, 3/4/2020)
FlyBe became the first airline casualty of the virus, filing for bankruptcy on Wednesday. FlyBe is a UK domestic airline.
HOW THE EU RULES THE WORLD The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World
For many observers, the European Union is mired in a deep crisis. Between sluggish growth; political turmoil following a decade of austerity politics, Brexit, and the rise of Asian influence, the EU is seen as a declining power on the world stage. Columbia Law professor Anu Bradford argues the opposite in her important new book The Brussels Effect: the EU remains an influential superpower that shapes the world in its image. By promulgating regulations that shape the international business environment, elevating standards worldwide, and leading to a notable Europeanization of many important aspects of global commerce, the EU has managed to shape policy in areas such as data privacy, consumer health and safety, environmental protection, antitrust, and online hate speech. And in contrast to how superpowers wield their global influence, the Brussels Effect – a phrase first coined by Bradford in 2012 – absolves the EU from playing a direct role in imposing standards, as market forces alone are often sufficient as multinational companies voluntarily extend the EU rule to govern their global operations. The Brussels Effect shows how the EU has acquired such power, why multinational companies use EU standards as global standards, and why the EU’s role as the world’s regulator is likely to outlive its gradual economic decline, extending the EU’s influence long into the future.
Düsseldorf’s Rheinmetall arms manufacturer is enjoying a sumptuous upswing in sales for its arms sector and a record-breaking number of contracts. Whereas the company’s automotive sector is marking a downswing in sales, in comparison to last year, due to 2019’s signs of weakness in the overall auto industry, the current boom in armaments is more than compensating. The shareholders are “delighted,” boasts stock exchange reports. At Rheinmetall, there is talk of a “‘super cycle’ in the company’s military sector.” Western governments – the company’s current and potential customers – are engaged in a massive arms buildup. Whereas this year’s military budget for the Bundeswehr will be increased to €45.1 billion – nearly 40 percent more than it was in 2014 – the military budgets of the European countries together will be more than €300 billion. The US military budget is more than US $700 billion. Rheinmetall is benefiting also from the Arab countries’ arms buildups against Iran, but above all, from the buildup of the western world against Russia and China. (German Foreign Policy, 3/3/2020)
DRONES REVOLUTIONIZING WARFARE Turkish Drones Revolutionize Warfare in Syria, Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
Footage of numerous Turkish drone strikes in Idlib reveal their groundbreaking and effective use against Syrian regime defenses and armored vehicle formations. Turkey can’t fly its air force in Idlib due to an apparent ban by Russia and the Syrian regime. But Turkish drones can fly. Video feeds show drones striking columns of infantry and armored vehicles near Idlib. Turkey’s widespread use of drones in Idlib may be one of the largest concentrations of drones ever used in this manner. (Jerusalem Post, 3/3/2020)
SDA’S AND ROME WORKING TOGETHER Seventh-day Adventists, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals Sign a Historic ‘Ecumenical Charter’ that Affirms Faith in ‘One, Holy, Catholic Apostolic Church’
The document that was signed is a pledge of commitment to each other. Adventists pledged a commitment to Rome, and Rome reciprocated that commitment. Make no mistake. The churches that signed this document promised to uphold the principles of the Ecumenical Charter which includes affirming an allegiance to each other.
The Ecumenical Charter declares that the church is “one, holy, catholic and apostolic” and therefore the “inescapable ecumenical task consists in making visible this unity.”
The Ecumenical Charter declares that the churches are “called together in the unity of faith.”
The Ecumenical Charter calls for the “visible unity of the Church of Jesus Christ in the one faith and in witness and in common service.”
The Ecumenical Charter says that “the most important task of the Churches is to proclaim the Gospel together through word and action, for the salvation of all human beings.” (AdventMessenger, 3/4/2020)
TO THE POINT
America’s Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point, the largest single cut since the financial crisis. The move came after a pledge by finance ministers and central bankers from the G7, a group of the world’s biggest rich countries, to “use all appropriate policy tools” to combat the economic downturn caused by the spread of covid-19. President Donald Trump recently repeated his complaint that Fed rates were too high. (The Economist, 3/4/2020)
The World Bank pledged up to $12bn to help developing countries respond to the growing threat of covid-19. The announcement came just after the World Health Organisation said the disease’s global mortality rate is 3.4%. The World Bank’s aid will include a mix of grants, loans and other technical assistance, with priority given to the world’s poorest countries. (The Economist, 3/4/2020)
SUPPORT FOR ANTI-EU PARTIES ‘DOUBLES IN 20 YEARS’ – The vote share for anti-EU parties has more than doubled in two decades, according to research conducted by academic experts in populism. The study found that since 1992, the first year in which there were free and fair elections in every country currently a member of the bloc, combined support for European far-right, far-left and other Eurosceptic parties has surged from 15% to almost 35%. (The Week, 3/4/2020)
Lebanese Preacher: The Muslims Will Kill The Jews, Who Will Hide Behind Rocks And Trees, The Jews Are The Most Cowardly Of Allah’s Creations; Jerusalem Friday Sermon: It Is The Religious Obligation Of Muslims To Bear Animosity Against The Jews (MEMRI, 3/4/2020)
Indian migrants are driving a surge in citizenship as a record 211,723 people won the right to call Australia home in 2019. (The Australian, 2/20/2020)
Last week, I reviewed the book “The Race to save the Romanovs.” In my review I mentioned that support for the restoration of the monarchy in Russia is at 28%. That’s roughly the same percentage of votes any American president gets. 54.9% voted in 2016, which gave each candidate roughly 27%. Bill Clinton was voted into office with a mere 22% of the vote.
With 36 seats, Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party will be the largest in Israel’s next Knesset. Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White alliance won 32. But with Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition still two seats shy of a majority, and his trial on charges of bribery and fraud due to begin on March 17th, his troubles are not over yet. (The Economist, 3/4/2020)
BERLIN/LONDON/EDINBURGH – Berlin’s foreign policy is in support of Scottish nationalists, preparing to hold a second referendum to secede from the United Kingdom. Last week, Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of the Scottish regional government and chairperson of the Scottish National Party (SNP), was received in the German capital for confidential talks with representatives of the German foreign policy establishment, including with Michael Roth (SPD), Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Officially, the meetings were focused on the Brexit, bitterly opposed by Sturgeon and the Scottish nationalists. However, Sturgeon was, in fact, also pleading for support for her secessionist project and to bring Scotland, as an independent country into the EU.
About three years ago, German government representatives had already been in support of this plan.
However, a reliable Scottish majority, needed for this project, is nowhere in sight.
A Second Secession Referendum
Scotland’s regional government under First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is relentlessly pursuing its campaign for a second secession referendum. Prior to the referendum on September 18, 2014, Scottish nationalists, including Sturgeon, had repeatedly that the population’s decision at the ballot box should be valid for one generation. However, when a clear majority of 55.3 percent voted in favor of remaining in the UK, Sturgeon immediately declared that, by no means, would she content herself with that outcome, and would eventually seek a new vote. The occasion presented itself with the Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016, when a majority of 51.9 percent in the UK voted to leave the EU, while a clear majority of 62 percent in Scotland voted to remain. This discrepancy was an opportunity for Sturgeon – whose regional government has so far only rudimentarily implemented its election promises concerning the social and health sectors – to not only reiterate her idea of a second referendum, but to directly link the perspective of Scotland’s secession with that of remaining in the EU.
Representatives of Germany’s governing parties and ministries took this occasion to openly applaud the Scottish nationalists’ secessionist efforts and thus promote the disintegration of an officially allied country. Already on June 26, 2016, Gunther Krichbaum (CDU), Chairman of the Bundestag’s Committee for the Affairs of the European Union declared that he expected that a new referendum on Scotland’s secession would be “successful” and that the country would remain within the EU. (German Foreign Policy, 9/23)
GERMANY SUPPORTS MORE INTERVENTIONS
The German government seeks to expand civilian-military interventions abroad, to obtain a more favorable position in the global struggle for spheres of influence. To meet the challenge in the context of the “great-power rivalry between the United States, Russia and China,” the EU military missions must be combined with “civilian assistance,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) declared recently. This “networked approach” should become “a hub” for EU-policy and lead to the creation of a “crisis prevention center” in Berlin. The plan is particularly to train police officers and other “rule-of-law experts” to be deployed in countries, where “German interests” appear threatened by “outside influence.” “Legitimate partners,” such as the governments of Mali or Afghanistan or opposition forces, as in Syria, could be “strengthened,” explains the German Foreign Ministry. (German Foreign Policy, 9/21)
GERMANY LEADS MULTINATIONAL NAVAL EXERCISE
ROSTOCK/COPENHAGEN – Under German command, numerous NATO member countries and close allies are participating in a naval exercise – that ends on Thursday – for the control of Baltic maritime routes.
The Bundeswehr provides, by far, the largest contingent in this year’s “Northern Coasts” naval exercise (September 3 to 19), taking place in the context of the escalating conflict between western countries and Russia. Due to this conflict, not only Eastern Europe, but the Baltic Sea, as well, has been gaining strategic importance. This is comparable to the Baltic Sea’s importance during the Cold War. Germany is participating in NATO’s remilitarization of the Baltic Sea, seeking to assume a regional leadership role and enhance its standing within NATO. The new Maritime Forces Staff, DEU MARFOR, based in the naval headquarters being set up in Rostock, also serves this purpose. In the future, it will be able to provide command for NATO, as well as EU wars.
Northern Coasts 2019
Around 3,000 troops from 18 nations are currently participating in the “Northern Coasts 2019” naval exercise lasting more than two weeks and extending from the straits connecting the Baltic Sea to the North Sea between the Danish and Swedish coasts up to the Bornholm island. It, thus, includes the narrowest and shallowest sections of the Baltic Sea’s maritime routes. It is already a challenge for larger ships to maneuver in the Baltic Sea. In this environment, the multinational forces are training joint operations with 47 vessels, a submarine, seven aircraft and five helicopters. With 1,300 troops, the Bundeswehr, alone, accounts for nearly half of the soldiers and thus the largest proportion of personnel in the exercise. German forces provide seven ships, the submarine and one of the seven aircraft. In addition, mine clearance divers from the Naval Force Protection Battalion in Eckernförde are deployed and play a leading role in mine-warfare. Ashore, German soldiers are active in the logistics command and provide specialists for electronic warfare operations. This year, the multinational personnel and equipment are under the command of German Rear Admiral Stephan Haisch.(German Foreign Policy, 9/16)
BANKING AFTER BREXIT
Brexit will reduce by one third the EU’s share of global capital markets and will shift relations within the EU in France’s favor, as was revealed in a recent study on the impact the UK’s departure will have on the Union’s financial sector. Brexit will therefore reduce the EU’s share of global capital market activities to 14 percent – around one third the size of the US and roughly the same as China. France will become number one among the EU-27 – a bit ahead of Germany. The shrinkage can also be attributed to the fact that the EU was unable to induce major banks and other financial institutions, on a large scale, to relocate from London onto the continent. Brussels has tried to use strict regulations, stipulating that financial transactions within the EU may only be conducted by legally independent entities within an EU country. However, the financial sector has limited its relocation onto the continent to only the bare essentials. The anticipated banking boom, for example, in Frankfurt, is not materializing. (German Foreign Policy, 9/19)
MIDEAST SLIDING INTO MAJOR WAR
The Middle East appears to be sliding into a war and it may even have already started. It is a new kind of war, a 21st century conflict for which there is no formal declaration of war, no clear fronts and a wide variety of battlefields. There are attacks the provenance of which may never be known, and while some of the fighting is conventional in nature, much of it is not and involves drones in the air and viruses in cyberspace.
More than anything, it is a confusing war, in which nobody really has control, not even those who are ostensibly leading it .
AMERICA WILL NEVER TOLERATE IRAN’S ANTI-SEMITIC HATE – TRUMP
At UN, Trump calls on Mideast nations to fully normalize ties with Israel. Addressing world leaders, US president says sanctions against Iran will be tightened, not lifted, until it changes behavior and ends ‘fanatical quest’ for nukes.
Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, the US president accused Tehran of trafficking in “monstrous anti-Semitism” and engaging in a “fanatical quest” to obtain nuclear weapons. Trump said the rogue regime’s aggression had created newfound regional alliances to counter the Iranian threat. “Thankfully, there is a growing recognition in the wider Middle East that the countries of the region share common interest in battling extremism and unleashing economic opportunity,” Trump said. “That is why it’s so important to have full normalized relations between Israel and its neighbors.”
In a highly anticipated address before the international community — as tensions with Iran intensified after it allegedly attacked two Saudi oil facilities — Trump insisted that he would maintain his “maximum pressure campaign” against Tehran. . . . Iran, he said, was on a “fanatical quest for nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.” The world, Trump continued, “must never allow this to happen.”
“Frustrated Palestinian youths are committing suicide because of poverty, while the sons of the leaders are holding birthday parties!” — Hussein Qatoush, on Facebook
The problem . . . is when your father is a senior terrorist leader who devotes himself to inciting against Israel and Jews and encouraging other young Palestinians to sacrifice their lives in the war against Israel. Hamad, like the rest of the Hamas leaders, would never send his own son to attack soldiers at the border with Israel.
It is time for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to revolt against the leaders who are keeping them chained in poverty and sending them to their deaths.
It is also time for the international community to wake up to the fact that it is wealthy Hamas leaders, and not Israel, who are responsible for the humanitarian and economic disaster that is known as the Gaza Strip. (Bassam Tawil, Gatestone, 9/25)
THE GREAT WAR OF OUR TIME
“So how did our initial victory in Afghanistan – in only months – turn into the longest war in American history? It happened because at some point our goal shifted from ensuring that al Qai’da would not again be able to use Afghanistan as a launching pad for attacks against the homeland to something else. The mission changed to trying to permanently alter Afghan politics and society. It was an impossible task to turn Afghanistan’s tribal society and culture into a liberal democracy. It was an impossible task to convince the Taliban that it should operate inside the Afghan political system rather than outside of it. Perhaps we should have walked away from Afghanistan after forcing al-Qa’ida from the country, and we would have told all Afghans, including the Taliban, ‘If you let al-Qa’ida return, so will we.” (“The Great War of our time”, by Michael Morell, former Deputy CIA Director, 2015, page 74).
TO THE POINT
If you’re tired of the usual entertainment provided by TV and even streaming, check out the continuing saga of Brexit, courtesy of Sky News (on “Watch Free” or on the web). The parliamentary debates are entertaining, to say the least.
Surely, the investigation of Donald Trump over his Ukrainian call should be focused on Joe Biden. His son is now being paid $50,000 a MONTH by a Ukrainian gas company in a job for which he’s not qualified. When an investigation began looking into this by a Ukrainian prosecutor Biden brought pressure to bear to stop it, threatening an end to US aid. Corruption, anyone? (It’s even worse when you consider that the Democrats are supposed to be the party of the working man.)
Former French President Jacques Chirac died today. He was the French leader who finally admitted French complicity in the Holocaust, that the French themselves put French Jews on trains taking them to concentration camps.
New South Wales has become the latest Australian state to liberalize abortion laws. It doesn’t make any sense. Australia needs more people. Refugees and other immigrants threaten the Australian way of life. Australians need to reproduce more.
Somebody has stolen the “Amigo” from our local Aldi. An amigo is a self-driving vehicle with a shopping cart attached. They can hardly drive it down the street. What possible use can the thief have for this? Meanwhile, customers with disabilities are struggling to get around as best they can. Apparently, a replacement amigo costs about $2,000.
According to Wikipedia, Sri Lanka has a variety of religious beliefs, making it a truly multicultural experience. It’s over 70% Buddhist, 12.6% Hindu, 9.7 % Muslim and 7.4% Christian.
For over thirty years, there was a civil war between the majority Buddhists and the minority Hindus. The civil war ended ten years ago. Bombings, frequent during the war, were a thing of the past.
Until Sunday. Easter Sunday, when 253 Christians were killed by nine Muslim suicide bombers. The suicide bombers were all from wealthy backgrounds.
At first, the death toll was 359. This is because of the way body parts were counted. Later, the death toll was revised downward.
Initially, speculation was rife that the attacks were revenge killings for the massacre of Muslims in New Zealand, but intelligence has determined that the attacks were planned three months ago, a long time before the New Zealand massacre. Terrorists need no excuse when it comes to mass carnage.
The BBC’s Clyde Myrie, reporting from Sri Lanka, described ISIS as a “perversion of Islam.” But is it? How many more terror attacks have to take place before we face up to reality? On January 18th the Wall Street Journal, on its opinion page, had a long list of Muslim terror attacks under the title: “A Bloody month of jihad.” In any given month, a number of terrorist attacks take place around the world, all a part of the global jihad against non-Muslims. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Sri Lankan attacks.
A Christian man who survived the bombing of St. Sebastian’s church in Sri Lanka had this to say:
“We are a peace-loving community in this small city, we had never hurt anyone, but we don’t know from where this amount of hate is coming. This city has become a grave with blood and bodies lying around . . . Since the past three years, we don’t know why, but we see an extremist’s mindset developing among the Muslims. I know many good Muslims, but there are also a lot who hate us, and they have never been so before. It is in these three years that we see a difference.” (Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone, 4/25)
Also from Gatestone:
“In 2017, in Egypt, Islamic terrorists bombed two Coptic Christian churches during Palm Sunday mass, which inaugurates Easter week, murdering 50 people and wounding 120. On Easter Sunday 2016 in Pakistan, an Islamic suicide bomber detonated near the children’s rides of a public park where Christians were known to be congregated and celebrating; over 70 people — mostly women and children — were murdered and nearly 400 wounded. On Easter Sunday 2012 in Nigeria, Islamic terrorists bombed a church, murdering at least 50 worshippers.” (4/25)
Christians are clearly being targeted by Muslims, yet few give attention to this in the West. Gatestone is one of the few.
(The last time I quoted Gatestone, I saw a comment posted to my blog claiming it’s an extreme right-wing website which is often wrong. Gatestone simply sees the threat posed by radical Islam to the western world. It is warning the West. It is no more wrong than mainstream media, which is failing in its responsibility to warn the West. It is described as “extreme right wing” because it opposes globalization and multiculturalism.)
Former US President Barack Obama could not bring himself to talk about the attack on Christians, describing them as “Easter worshippers.”
Allison Pearson, in London’s Daily Telegraph, wrote:
“Compare and contrast the reaction of Hillary Clinton to the two tragedies. On Sunday, she tweeted, “I’m praying for everyone affected by today’s horrific attacks on Easter worshippers and travelers in Sri Lanka.” Easter worshippers? That’s a clunking new euphemism for Christians. When the mosques in Christchurch were targeted, did Clinton talk of Ramadan worshippers? No, she wrote, “My heart breaks for New Zealand and the global Muslim community.”” (4/23)
Former Vice-President Joe Biden, announcing his candidacy for the presidency, in his promotional video lamented the incident in which one person died in Charlottesville, yet gave no mention of the terror attacks in Sri Lanka, which took the lives of at least four Americans. The widening conflict with the Islamic world will require a president who can stand up to the terrorists, not somebody who avoids the issues. Biden is too deeply rooted in the past and is not facing up to what’s happening in the present, let alone the future.
We’re afraid to face the fact that Christians everywhere are being persecuted.
The multicultural dream that the West has been pursuing, everywhere, is dead. Sri Lanka shows this. Other terrorist attacks have also shown it, but not on this scale.
At the same time, it seems to be open season on Christians. For decades, they have been persecuted in the Middle East, with little concern expressed in the West, even in the Vatican.
In London, the Muslim Mayor of the city, sent extra police protection to mosques after the New Zealand massacre. None were sent to Christian churches on Easter Sunday. Christians are on their own. They can never be described as victims (hence Mr. Obama’s use of the term “Easter worshippers”). Only Muslims can be victims!
There are also reports that many Frenchmen do not believe Notre Dame was an accident.
Allison Pearson again:
“I’m afraid that politicians like Clinton and May are paralyzed by a terrible dilemma. It’s too scary to admit that militant Islamists are at war with Christianity and Western civilization, that vandalism of churches is rife across Europe and that, according to the Pew Report, Christianity is the world’s most persecuted religion.”
Prince William, the future king of New Zealand, was asked to come and speak at the Christchurch mosque, to encourage the people at this very difficult time for them. They were the victims of a white nationalist who protested the presence of Muslims in the country.
Attacks and counter attacks. This has become almost a daily staple worldwide. This “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West was predicted by Samuel Huntington 25 years ago; it is also prophesied in Daniel 11:40-44.
Sadly, Sri Lanka is the future of us all!
I am going overseas for three weeks and am unlikely to post while I’m away. This is a fun trip. Hopefully, no news will interrupt it!
Here’s an interesting paragraph from German-Foreign-Policy.com, February 15th:
“German military personnel are beginning to consider Russia’s intervention in Syria as having prevented IS/Daesh from taking power in Damascus and carrying out offensives against other countries – including Israel.”
While the western media concentrates on exposing Russian air attacks as potential “war crimes,” it may be that, overall, Russia’s intervention has been a good thing, stopping the spread of ISIS and thwarting a greater threat to Israel.
The key words are “may be.” We may never know.
Russia’s intervention in Syria may have, inadvertently, helped Israel. President Obama’s occupancy of the White House certainly has not. US unreliability has led Israel to seek alliances elsewhere. Bret Stevens wrote yesterday in the Wall Street Journal:
“On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon publicly shook hands with former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal at the Munich Security Conference. In January, Israeli cabinet member Yuval Steinitz made a trip to Abu Dhabi, where Israel is opening an office at a renewable-energy association. Turkey is patching up ties with Israel. In June, Jerusalem and Riyadh went public with the strategic talks between them. In March, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi told the Washington Post that he speaks to Mr. Netanyahu “a lot.”
“This de facto Sunni-Jewish alliance amounts to what might be called the coalition of the disenchanted; states that have lost faith in America’s promises. Israel is also reinventing its ties to the aspiring Startup Nations, countries that want to develop their own innovation cultures.” (“Israel looks beyond America, WSJ)”
February 15th was an important date historically. On that day, in 1942, the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese. It was a major turning point for the British Empire. It wasn’t until almost fifteen years later that the world could clearly see the Empire was no longer the major power it had been, but Britain’s defeat at the hands of the Japanese was disastrous. Note the following from Stratfor:
The Beginning of the End of the British Empire — The humiliating surrender of Singapore on Feb. 15, 1942, was the first sign of decline for the British regional order.
“On Jan. 31, 1942, Allied engineers blew a hole in the causeway linking the island city of Singapore to the Malay Peninsula, hoping to slow the advance of Japanese Imperial troops down the coastline. The blast resounded throughout the city. As the story goes, 19-year-old university student and future prime minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew was walking across campus at that moment. When his British headmaster, passing by, asked what the sound was, Lee responded, “That is the end of the British Empire.”
Lee Kuan Yew was to lead Singapore for over three decades, presiding over one of the world’s greatest success stories.
The US election has taken a worrying turn, again. The two Democratic candidates are busy criticizing the police in order to get the African-American vote. They need to tread carefully. The police are all that stand between the general population and anarchy. One day, one of these candidates may need a policeman or two to protect them. Undermining the police is not in anybody’s interests.
Christopher Marquez, an Hispanic decorated US Marine, was attacked and left unconscious by a gang of young African-American teenagers at a McDonald’s in Washington, DC, last week. They had been taunting him along racial lines asking him if “Black Lives Matter,” the popular slogan started last year following the deaths of a number of young black men at the hands of white police.
“I believe this was a hate crime and I was targeted because of my skin color,” Marquez, who is Hispanic, told TheDaily Caller. “Too many of these types of attacks have been happening against white people by members of the black community and the majority of the main stream media refuses to report on it.”
Of course black lives matter. But white ones should, too. No attention was given to this story of the white Marine until Fox News” put it on its website this morning. No attention has been given either to the death of a 17-year-old white male a few miles from our home – shot by a white policeman who, some think, over reacted. “Justice for Devon Guilford” is written on signs all over our neighborhood as investigations continue. The issue has seriously divided Eaton County.
There is definitely a double standard in the media, where “black lives matter,” but white lives don’t!
President Obama was shown on television this morning assuring people that Donald Trump will never be president. Meanwhile, there’s increasing talk that Joe Biden will jump into the race if Hillary Clinton slips any further against fellow Democrat Bernie Sanders.
The Establishment clearly does not want outsiders like Trump or Sanders to lead the country! Whatever happened to democracy?
It’s not that different overseas.
In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister David Cameron has promised a referendum on Britain’s future in the European Union. Referenda are easily manipulated.
If the majority votes against Europe, a second question could be asked phrased differently to try to get a ‘yes’ vote. Even if both votes result in a resounding ‘No,’ other nations in Europe will retaliate making it difficult, if not impossible for Britain to break away. German leaders are already threatening a trade war at a time when global trade is already going through a rough period.
Mr. Sanders claims that he wants “democratic socialism” and cites Denmark as his model. He has wisely avoided any mention of Venezuela where socialism has brought the country to near-starvation. Stratfor reported yesterday that the socialist President Nicolas Maduro may be around for some time:
“Maduro could maintain a political impasse with the legislature for a long time. He could also deal with a slowly mounting economic crisis, as former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez did during the latter years of his presidency. But the Venezuelan crisis is rapidly becoming a social crisis. Maduro’s economic adjustments have focused on sharply cutting imports across the board, spurring rampant inflation that effectively places even basic food items out of the poor’s reach. The situation is potentially explosive. With rapid consumer price increases on the black market, endemic shortages of food in public stores, failing public utilities and an intransigent president, the stage is set for a major wave of social unrest that could rival the 1989 Caracazo riots that killed hundreds of people.”
Margaret Thatcher got it right when she defined socialism as “equal shares of misery for all!” Government is inherently incompetent. That will never change.
"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened." — Sir Winston Churchill